Meretz demands pluralism and equality at the Western Wall

Meretz demands pluralism and equality at the Western Wall

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New Movement-Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz has presented a new bill that would amend the “Holy Places Law” and allow for tolerance and pluralism at the Kotel, the Western Wall, among all streams of Jewish practice.A meeting of the Knesset’s “Civic Equality and Pluralism Caucus”, which Horowitz chairs, attended by representatives of the American Jewish community, Israeli civil rights and religious organizations, as well as Israeli political parties, recently discussed the inequality and intolerance towards the non-Orthodox at the Kotel: The ban on mixed male-female events, the restrictions on women’s prayer, and the erosion of the Wall’s status as a national (as opposed to religious) site that welcomes all Jewish people.

At the caucus’ conference, Horowitz bemoaned the fact that, “each year, the Kotel is increasingly becoming the exclusive province of the extremist streams within Jewish Orthodoxy.”

Criticizing the growing religious restrictions at the Wall and its environs, Horowitz argued that, “the time has come to return the Wall’s plaza to the hands of the entire Jewish people, including all its streams and hues.  Everyone needs to be allowed to find his or her place at this special site, whether that person is secular or ultra-Orthodox, Reform, Conservative or wears a knitted kipa – women and men.”

Horowitz warned that, “without pluralism and mutual respect, the Kotel‘s status as a worldwide Jewish spiritual center will be compromised,” and promised that his bill, “will guarantee that the Kotel is for everyone, in the spirit of the founding principles of Israel’s Declaration of Independence”.

Horowitz also decried the recent arrest of Women of the Wall chair, Anat Hoffman:  “It is a grave situation that in the Israel of 2010, a woman is arrested because she held a Torah scroll in the Kotel plaza,” he stated.  “The Kotel belongs not only to ultra-Orthodox and Orthodox men.  It belongs to us all… I support Anat Hoffman and the Women of the Wall in their just struggle for their right to be Jewish as they interpret it, and to pray like anyone else at this holy site”.

By | 2010-07-19T20:53:02-04:00 July 19th, 2010|Blog, Civil Rights, Israeli Left, Meretz, Religious Pluralism, Women|0 Comments

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